Cartagena, Colombia / by Kelly Young

After two trips to Hawaii I wanted to check out somewhere new for our yearly winter pilgrimage for vitamin D. When we were thinking about a destination, we didn’t want to spend two days traveling, so it narrowed our options to Central America/ the Caribbean. Cartagena had peaked my interest with its bright colors and architecture. I remember asking Tom, if he wanted to go to Colombia this winter and he raised his eyebrows at me and said “Colombia? Are you sure?” After convincing him he wouldn’t be killed by a drug cartel he was in! Cartagena is actually a safe place to travel to as long as you exercise the normal precautions you would while traveling. Our friends Jeff and Nicole also joined us for the trip to celebrate Tom and Nicole’s birthdays (they are birthday twins).

All and all we had a fantastic time and I am still amazed by what a cool city Cartagena is. We stayed within the old town part of Cartagena which is a walled city - founded in 1533 (whoa!). The old town is very walkable (nice and flat) and you can pretty much walk anywhere in about less than 10 minutes. The streets are very narrow and almost all the buildings are Spanish colonial. We spent most of our days cruising around the city, eating the best ceviche, and hanging by the pool.

La Passion Hotel

We stayed at La Passion Hotel, small boutique hotel built in 1820. It was laid back and great for lounging by the pool. The staff were really friendly and helpful. And it was incredibly beautiful.

Colorful Streets

We got up early a couple of the mornings to walk around and explore the city. It is so hot during the daytime (unless early morning or evening) that walking around is pretty unpleasant, so most days we spent by the pool. Every street within the walled city is colorful and beautiful (that’s why I have so many pictures!)

Rosario Islands

We took a day trip boat to the Rosario Islands to check out some of the better beaches in the area.

Mud Volcano

The day before Tom & Nicole’s birthday, Jeff and I decided we should all go to the mud volcano because it is said to make you 7 years younger. Jussttttt kidding, this was Nicole’s idea :) I was initially skeptical, but it was super awesome and I would highly recommend.

Pink Sea Salt Mines

Our tour to the mud volcano also included a stop at pink sea salt mines. They were cool to look at, not nice to walk on.

The Food

I tend to not really take pictures of food, but I couldn’t talk about the trip without mentioning just how incredible all the food was! Tons of great seafood and ceviche, so if fish isn’t your thing, you may not enjoy Cartagena as much as we did. Some of the restaurants we enjoyed were Carmen, Interno, La Cevicheria, Maria, and Cafe Epoca. We seriously didn’t have a disappointing meal the entire time we were there.